International Masaryk Conference for Ph.D. Students and Young Researchers 2019, vol. X. (Dec 16, 2019 - Dec 18, 2019)


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Science and Research - National Museum in Prague

Published in cooperation with National Museum in Prague (Mgr. Magdaléna Kroupová).

The National museum is a research institution, which is engaged in basic research, applied research and experimental development, whose results are made public by way of expositions, exhibitions, lecturing and pedagogical work, publication work in all the spheres of its concern including museology and collection protection.

The National Museum is one of the oldest scientific institutions in the Czech Republic, whose tradition reaches back to such personalities of Czech science as Josef Palacký, Jan Krejčí or Karel B. Presl. It is also a publisher of the oldest Czech scientific journal (The National Museum Journal), which is issued to this day. This tradition is not at all an empty legacy.

Tens of scientists and experts of the National Museum successfully work on two extensive research programmes and a great many projects backed by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, which annually result in numerous results. They also work on scientific tasks financed by the Czech Science Foundation as well as projects on a European footing. According to established criteria the National Museum awards internal grants aimed especially at junior programmes.

Apart from the above mentioned National Museum Journal, which - with regard to the multidisciplinary profile of the institute – is published in two specialised forms focused on the humanities and natural science, the National museum issues 10 more specialised scientific periodicals as well as the monographic series Editio Monographica Musei Nationalis Pragae as a basic resourse edition and the mostly material archeological edition Fontes Archeologici Pragenses.

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850 - 1937)

Published in cooperation with TGM Museum in Lány (Mgr. Magdalena Elznicová Mikesková).

Childhood and youth

Tomáš Masaryk was born on 7th March 1850 in Hodonín. His father Josef Masaryk (originally from Slovakia) came from a poor family and worked as a coachman on the manor farm. Masaryk`s mother Terezie (her maiden name was Kropáčková) came from a wealthy burgher family and she worked as a cook in manor farm in Hodonín. Although Masaryk`s parents weren`t equal in social origin and age (Terezie was ten years older than Josef), their marriage was trouble free and harmonious. Tomáš was the oldest child in this family. He had also two younger brothers.

Due to father`s profession the Masaryk family often moved around various locations in South Moravia. In 1864 Tomáš was sent to Vienna to learn to be a locksmith. But he didn`t like it, the monotonous production work didn`t suit him and he and his peers didn`t understand each other. One of his roomates even took his favorite book. So he decided to return to his parents only six weeks later. Instead he joined the blacksmith teaching. A work where strength and skill were needed was appreciated and Tomáš decided to be a professional blacksmith. However, he soon met his former professor from secondary school, who persuaded Tomáš`s parents to send him to work as a teacher`s assistant in Čejkovice.

In 1865 Tomáš Masaryk joined the German Gymnasium in Brno. He managed to pass the exams for second grade and because of his excellent grades he gradually managed to get a scholarship. In the second semester he was hired as a tutor in wealthy family of police director Anton Le Minnier.

Tomáš was the oldest one in the class. He already considered himself as an adult and often went into conflict with professors. The subject of one of many disputes was also Masaryk`s unsuccessful love to one girl, which was perceived by professors as a moral lapse. Masaryk also continually refused to attend the obligatory confession. Once Masaryk was called to headmaster`s office. The headmaster tried to talk to him and force him to fulfill the religious obligations. He said that it is just a formality and he himself doesn`t “believe in this religious nonsense”.  Masaryk responded sharply: “Who acts against his beliefs is a villain!”. The angry headmaster wanted to strike the student, but Tomáš took a poker on him. The incident nearly ended with Masaryk`s exclusion from all Austrian schools. Fortunately the police director Anton Le Monnier supported him. The case remained between the student and the director and young Masaryk could finish the year quietly. Next year he was taken by Le Monnier to Vienna, where he moved with his family. Tomáš Masaryk graduated at the local grammar school in 1872.

After his high school studies, Masaryk at first decided to study a classical philology, but later he decided to study philosophy. During his studies in Vienna Tomáš met with many prominent scientists and thinkers. He was regularly meeting with the family of Professor of Czech language A. V. Šembera. In 1875 he became the President of Czech academic association. After death of police director Le Monnier, where he still worked as tutor, and this ensured him a regular supply of financial support, he gained even more profitable place as a tutor in the family of Rudolf Schlesinger – the General Counsel of English-Austrian bank.

In 1876 Tomáš Masaryk successfully defended his dissertation “Plato`s essence of the soul”. Thanks to a financial support of Schlesinger Tomáš could accompany his son on a study tour from northern and central Italy to Leipzig.

Meeting with Charlotta Garrigue

Charlotta and Tomáš met in Leipzig. From the first meeting Tomáš found Charlotta very interesting. These two spent a lot of time together debating and reading. Masaryk admired Charlotta`s education and knowledge, seriousness, interest in the world around and the ability to enforce her opinion. He wanted to propose. He ventured only after this episode: on 24th July 1877 Masaryk, Charlotta and Göring family went on a boat trip on a river. While getting of the boat Mrs. Göring`s foot slipped and she fell into the water and began to drown. Masaryk immediately jumped to the water to save her. But Mrs. Göring had a very robust figure and it wasn`t easy to get her out. As a result of exhaustion and hypothermia Masaryk remained in bed for several days. In doing so, he wrote a passionate letter to Charlotta, where he confessed his love and offered her marriage. Charlotta refused at first, but later she agreed. Only few days after the engagement these two had to say goodbye to each other. Charlotta had to go back to America, Tomáš had to work on the completion of his habilitation thesis.

After few weeks a telegram reached Masaryk. There was a message that Charlotta fell out of the car and she was wounded. Tomáš immediately went to America. The sailing on a ship to America wasn`t safe. The ship Herder was in very poor condition and it even sank on the way back to Europe. But Tomáš Masaryk arrived happily to Garrigue family and he met with already healed Charlotta. They married on 15th March 1878. Tomáš Masaryk joined Charlotta`s maiden name Garrigue to his name as an expression of equality between man and woman. It was also an expression of admiration and respect for his wife.

Masaryk Professor

After the marriage Masaryks settled in Vienna. The young couple had to put up with a difficult financial situation from the beginning. Tomáš didn`t have a steady income and he earned extra money only by tutoring, teaching Latin and lectures. In 1879 Masaryk successfully graduated with his work “Suicide – a mass social phenomenon of modern education”. In the same year Masaryk welcomed first daughter Alice and a year later a son Herbert. The severe financial situation of the family grew. Fortunately, Masaryk was offered a job as an Associate Professor at the University of Prague, and the family with two children moved from Vienna to Prague.

After the arrival to Prague the Masaryk family had to get used to the new environment that was different from Vienna. They gradually acquainted with representatives of Czech intelligence and Czech patriots. They lived a rich social life and their children were part of these social gatherings. The leading figures of science and culture were visitors of Masaryk`s household. Since the beginning of Masaryk`s stay in Prague, he began to concentrate on lectures at the University and scientific work. Since 1833 Masaryk edited and actively contributed to journal Atheneum. He wrote an article “How to magnify our education literature”, he pointed out the lack of Czech translations of scientific literature, the need of a new encyclopaedias and popular magazines. He also called for the establishment of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

In the years 1877 – 1888 Masaryk visited Russia. He studied the local conditions and he presented his knowledge of Russia in two-volume book “Russia and Europe” (1913). During his stay in Russia Masaryk visited the famous writer Leo Tolstoy. In 1890s Masaryk published many works – for example “Czech Question” (1895) or “Modern Man and Religion” (1896). During 1902 and 1907 Masaryk did a lecture tour in America, where he learned about the situation of Czech immigrants.

Masaryk Family

The oldest child in the Masaryk family was a daughter Alice (born in 1879), Herbert was only a year younger (born in 1880). Second son Jan was born in 1886 and second daughter Olga in 1891. Masaryk`s understanding of a family differed from the contemporary notion that only man is the master that makes money and his wife must serve loyally to him. Masaryk fully supported the equality between spouses. Masaryk himself was able to take care of the household, feed their children and change their diapers. Even during the stay in Vienna he provoked a general outcry by just pushing the stroller with children in a park.

Masaryk often played with his children. For Charlotta the marriage was a sacrament. She supported her husband in the worst times. She cared of the household with love, but she also thought that woman is equal to man and she had the same right to education and self-fulfillment. Masaryks placed a great emphasis on the education of their children and tried to develop their talents and abilities and supported them in their hobbies. Alice, for example, learned how to play piano, Herbert loved fine arts, Jan wanted to become a piano virtuoso and Olga liked to play tennis.

Disagreements about Manuscripts

In 1866 T. G. Masaryk published an article written by philologist Jan Gebauer in Atheneum Magazine. This article dealt with the need of further examination of the authenticity of Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and of Zelená Hora. Masaryk himself added his own essay. Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and of Zelená Hora originated in the early 19th century as a falsifications. The authors with the so-called randomly found Manuscripts were trying to prove that the Czech literary work has a much older history than it was previously known. The discovery raised a huge sensation among society. Their existence encouraged national self-confidence and the Manuscripts became the source of inspiration for many artists. Unfortunately, even though they were false, the authenticity was defended by many scientists.

A critical article about the Manuscripts in Atheneum caused very negative reactions. It also caused a  sharp dispute among staunch advocates of the Manuscripts and scientists who have tried to prove that it is a fake on the basis of scientific evidence. They tried to convince the society that the Czech history should not rely on false papers. The press was interested in this affair and it sharply attacked T. G. Masaryk and his colleagues and incited the whole society against them. The fight about Manuscripts took place mainly on pages of Atheneum Magazine. Despite all the difficulties the society was finally convinced about the truth based on many scientific disciplines and the Manuscripts were declared as falsifications.

Hilsner affair

In 1899 when the Hilsner affair have started, T. G. Masaryk was a professor at the University of Prague and was forty-nine years old. At that time he was one of the leading figures in public life. However, he was accepted by the society very differently. His followers adored him, while his opponents treated him very hostile. Masaryk refused any entrenched conventions that distorted a view of reality. His highest aim was to always be true and unbiased, even if it makes him unpopular. This was demonstrated in the case of disagreements about Manuscripts. 

Hilsner affair began in March 1899 at the town of Polná, Czech Repubilc, where a young catholic girl Anežka Hrůzová from nearby village Věžnička was found murdered. The brutal act was declared as a “ritual murder” without a cause. Young man of Jewish origin Leopold Hilsner was accused of this murder. T. G. Masaryk resolutely refused the superstitions about ritual murder. Masaryk issued a brochure on this subject, which logically weakened the arguments advocating ritual murder. Masaryk himself was sure that after its publication a revision of this case would be required. But instead the distribution of this brochure was prohibited and Masaryk was even accused by the authorities of the disruption of a trial with Leopold Hilsner. The press started to publish attacks on Masaryk. The attack were soon followed by demonstrations of students.

This case connected with conviction of Leopold Hilsner gradually faded out. Hilsner was pardoned and after 19 years he lived as an unknown man in Vienna. His case was never revised. Although the Hilsner affair was a difficult proof of life to Masaryk and his family, Masaryk later admitted that it helped him in his politic carrier, because the society already knew about him.

Masaryk politician

Masaryk actively entered politics in the late eighties and early nineties. At first he tried to respond to the political situation in the country especially with developing the new so-called “realistic” program, which aimed to accurate scientific knowledge. Together with other like-minded colleagues, Masaryk begun to present this program in a new magazine “Čas” (Time). The common goal of “realists” (as the group began to call themselves) was to search for a fair and reasonable active politics. In a short time they gained the sympathy especially among young generation. To get into the Parliament they needed the support of one of the Czech Parties. In December 1890 they signed an agreement with the leadership of the Young Czechs party. Masaryk became the leader of its management and in March 1891 was elected to a parliament in Vienna. Masaryk had some disagreements with radical members of Young Czechs Party. At the same time he realized that he isn`t ready for his political carrier yet. Therefore he gave up his mandate in September 1893.

In next year Tomáš devoted himself primarily to professorial and literary work. Hovewer, he didn`t lose interest for a political situation. In 1900 Czech Realistic Folk Party was established. Masaryk became its president and was also author of its political program. In 1906 the party was renamed as Czech Progressive Party. Masaryk was the only Member of Parliament of this Party until the First World War.

First World War

Masaryk was concerned about the issue of future existence of the multinational Austro-Hungarian state at the beginning of war. His experience from politics work and consultations with key politics and foreign personalities finally brought him to a decision that “world revolution” as he called the armed conflict had to be used to break down the Habsburg Empire.

On 18th December 1914 Masayk left with his daughter Olga to Italy to contact important persons with whom he could consult the war situation. He originally thought to return to Prague four months later, but his path extended to four years. In early September 1915 he moved to France, than to London, where he gained the job as a professor of Slavic studies at King`s College. Thanks to his lectures, articles, public appearances and contacts with important politicians, he succeeded to get an important position in Britain. He was able to contact Czech and Slovak compatriots living abroad, organize the news agenda and obtain important information about the situation in Austro-Hungary Empire. Masaryk used media and journalism for his activities throughout the whole war.

The connection with domestic resistance was also important. The important role in the formation of the independent Czechoslovak state was played by Czechoslovak Legions. In the Allied countries and especially in Russia and France shortly after declaration of war the Czech and Slovak units were organized. They demanded the inclusion into the Allied armies. The largest base of Czechoslovak troops originated in Russia. Masaryk arrived there in 1917 with the idea of mobilizing the Czechoslovak prisoners and made a separate military unit from them. Russian provisional government allowed free recruiting prisoners to the Czechoslovak units primarily due to the successful performance of the Czechoslovak Brigade at the Battle of Zborov in 1917. Through extensive recruitment of Czechoslovak volunteers in detention camps by the end of 1917, there was gathered about 30,000 men.

Unfortunately Masaryk`s efforts to move the Czechoslovak army to France was finally broken with the Revolution in Russia. It cut off the path to West. The only option was the route to the East via Vladivostok. Masaryk took this way in 7th March 1918 to prepare transport for legionnaires across several continents. The transportation was launched in June 1918 and was ended in 1920. 29th April 1918 T. G. Masaryk arrived to America, where he turned to his side a large number of Czech and Slovak compatriots. After long negotiations and also after an important meeting with U. S. President W. Wilson, Masaryk was finally managed to push through the independence of Czechoslovak state. 14th November 1918 Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected president in his homeland.

Masaryk president

After four long years, on 20th December 1918 T. G. Masaryk returned as a president to a liberated Czechoslovakia. A day later he was officially welcomed in Prague. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk became the president when he was sixty-eight years old and was soon actively involved in the state politics. He initially insisted on extending presidential powers, so as to not remain merely a pawn in the hands of inexperienced ministers. Masaryk`s main goal was to create a functioning democratic state. To do so, it was necessary for him to surround himself with able politicians. Edvard Beneš (the new State Minister of Foreign Affairs) was one of his closest associates. Working in the young republic was not easy and it cost Masaryk a lot of energy. His health weakened during the war get worse in 1921, when Masaryk had thrombosis. Unfortunately two years later, he was hit by another tragedy – the death of his beloved wife Charlotta. Despite all these events Masaryk remained a very good politician. The Czechoslovak Republic was a prosperous democratic country with strong currency and functioning economy.

Lány castle

After Masaryk became a president, the flat in Prague Castle was adapted for him. Lány became the   seat of president in 1920. Until then, the first Czechoslovak president could use other presidential seats in Topolčianky in Slovakia and Židlochovice in Moravia. The summer residence was chosen very carefully – the decisive factors were good access and small distance from Prague, technical condition and representativeness. Masaryk spent more time here than in Prague Castle (he stayed 2-3 days a week in Prague, the rest in Lány). All Masaryk family loved Lány, they visited it very often.

Abdication and Death

T. G. Masaryk was elected a president of Czechoslovak Republic four times in a row. Despite the advanced age, he managed to overcome common diseases. However, in May 1934 his health went suddenly worse. On 14th December 1935 he decided to abdicate. He stayed in Lány Castle after abdication, which he received for a life use. He died on 14th September 1937.  He was buried at Lány Cemetery, where fourteen years rested his beloved wife Charlotte.

Number of registered participants: 163 (Dec 16, 2019)

The Werner von Siemens Award is a traditional competition for the best young brains and it is organised by Siemens Czech Republic (patronage over the International Masaryk Conference) in cooperation with the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Rectors Conference, Czech Technical University in Prague, Charles University and under the auspices of the Min. of Education, Youth and Sports and the Min. of Industry and Trade.

Aim of the Conference

The conference provides a place for the research result presentations for all applicants interested in business processes. MMK provides also possibility of getting active relations and mutual contact sharing.

Conference Process

All registered participants can take part in MMK conference who, on account of payment of the fee, shall receive codes for the system input that allows them to present their papers.


The presentation languages at the MMK conference will be Czech, Slovak, Polish and English languages. Every participant will receive a composite book with assigned ISBN after the conference is over.